Xanthe Muston

The Clock Strikes Midnight, 2023

87 × 119 cm
“It’s midnight.” “Goodbye” – Cinderella. In her painting, ‘The Clock Strikes Midnight’, Xanthe recontextualises the canonical story of ‘Cinderella’ to the late and surreal hours of a suburban masquerade party. In this playful reimagining, a glass slipper is replaced by a worn-down Veja, mouse masks transform the faces of party goers and pumpkins are tucked into the corner of a veranda. Yet in this insomniac world of the domestic interior, the mood is sober and suspended; the final groups of people are dispersing, the remaining individuals prolong departure, and two lone figures elude connection. Xanthe’s practice uses a combination of ink, watercolour, gouache, carbon transfer, and electric embosser whilst focusing on a refined palette with a careful inclusion of colour. Composition, and the way a visual tableau can communicate narrative, is a key interest for Xanthe. With a delicate hand, she incorporates different kinds of mark-making from the harsh, geometric lines that split her composition, to the intricate, painstaking methodology of the carbon transfer that adorns bushes and shrubbery. Xanthe makes her paintings to forge connection in the act of viewing. By focusing on the highly constructed and human landscape of the domestic, Xanthe seeks to create a space of shared contemplation, depicting the psychological entanglement between the everyday and the uncanny.

Influenced by her PhD studies in English Literature, Xanthe’s practice uses short stories and poetry as a starting point to explore surreal moments of human connection. In 2021, Xanthe won the Lloyd Rees Youth Art Memorial Prize, receiving a solo exhibition at the Lane Cove Gallery in December 2023. Notably, Xanthe exhibited in the Macquarie Emerging Artist Prize in 2022 where Macquarie Group acquired her artwork titled ‘Even When The Room Went Dark’. Xanthe was also shortlisted in the prestigious Mosman Art Prize and invited to speak in a panel discussion of selected artworks. At the end of 2022, Xanthe exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Balmain Watch House in a sold-out show.

In 2023, Xanthe was recently featured as one of five artists selected in the Young Talent exhibition at the Affordable Art Fair, Sydney, selling all of her exhibited paintings. Xanthe also won the Tim Olsen Drawing Prize in 2021 after being awarded Highly Commended in 2019 for the same prize. She has also exhibited in the Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award after being shortlisted for the prize.

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